I've told you before and I'll tell you again that I love featuring other engaged couples in my Real People in Love series. It is so much fun reading the experiences and knowledge other couple have to share and Dana & Keith are no exception. Dana is the woman behind Exploring the Unknown and I am so grateful that she and Keith agreed to be part of this series.
How old are you & Keith?
I am 22 and Keith is 24.
How long have you been together?
We've been together for about 3 years and are actually getting married on our dating anniversary, August 14th.
What are your occupations?
At the moment I am a full time graduate student, getting a masters degree in Art History and Keith is currently a manager at the retail store American Eagle. It pays the bills but he hopes to put his music business degree to good use when I'm with school.
How did you meet?
Keith and I met while he was on tour with his former band, Sophia. I am from Florida and he is from Georgia so people always wonder how we met. Well, Keith went to college in Nashville with one of my good friends from Florida and they started a band together. I visited Nashville to see them play their first CD release show and that is when Keith and I formally met, but we didn't become interested in each other until the band visited Florida in the summer of 2007. We dated long distance until about a year ago when he graduated college and moved to Florida to live ith me, and we now live in Philadelphia.
How did you get engaged?
Keith and I had been talking about marriage for a little while, and he had actually let me choose between two of his great-grandmothers rings to be my engagement ring. We got engaged on December 14th, so it was close to Christmas, and after a long semester of grad school I bugged Keith about taking me into the city to look at all the pretty Christmas lights and to have a romantic dinner. He was pretty sneaky all that week but anytime I would ask him what he was up to he would tell me that he never had time to get the ring sized, and not to get my hopes up. So as we were walking to "dinner" Keith and I went through City Hall where they have a large courtyard area and off to the side I saw a blanket set up with candles, champagne and roses. He brought me over, got down on one knee and proposed... to which I, of course, said yes, haha.
I kept wondering how he had set all this up, because I was with him the entire night and knew he had come home straight from work. So after I said yes and we hugged for a very long time, Keith told me to turn around and from behind some bushes come two of my best friends that I hadn't seen in months! They had come to Philadelphia from DC to help Keith make all the preparations which was AWESOME because I hadn't seen them in forever. It was a pretty great night, and a pretty great surprise.
Tell us about your wedding day:
Keith and I are getting married in Boca Raton, Florida on August 14th. We're planning to have a very simple ceremony and a reception filled with lots of friends, family and dancing. We really just want to share our love for each other with everyone we know, and be able to spend some time with all our favorite people.
Love is the greatest thing in the world. It's knowing that no matter how badly you mess up there will always be someone who still believes in you.
What is the toughest part of being in a committed relationship?
The toughest thing for me was being able to communicate openly with Keith. Before we got together, I was never very good at sharing my feelings so if I was down about something and he asked me what was wrong, my token answer would be "nothing, I'm fine." Keith really showed me that if we were going to grow together and love each other completely that I needed to be honest with him about everything, be willing to talk through it together, and trust that he was going to love me no matter what. Compromising is also a major tough spot that I have to work on each and every day, haha.
What is the best part?
Getting to spend each and every day with my best friend! Having someone that I know will be there for me and support me through all of the good times and bad.
What is the best day the two of you have had together?
I know that one of my favorite days that I ever spent with Keith was for my 21st birthday. He was living in Nashville at the time and I had driven 14 hours from Florida to visit since his best friend was getting married. It was a little bit of a hectic day because he was a groomsman in the wedding and had a bunch of responsibilities and we couldn't spend much time together. After we left the wedding he took me back to his apartment and told me to walk upstairs and there would be a surprise for me on the bed. What I found was a new dress, jewelry, and two tickets to see Iron & Wine that night, which I had really wanted to go to, but he told me months earlier that we wouldn't have time. I changed and we went to the concert together, had a few glasses of wine, and were able to just enjoy each other. Such a great birthday.
What makes you different from other couples?
Having dated long distance for so long, we spent SOOOO many hours on the phone just talking about anything. I feel like it was a really good thing for us when we started our relationship because it gave us a chance to really get to know each other on so many levels, without having the initial distraction of a physical relationship. I think it makes us different as a couple because we really learned never to take the time we get to spend with each other for granted.
What is your favorite thing to do together?
We have lots of favorite things to do together. Driving in the car and singing really loudly to whatever comes on the radio, going to the movies and sharing a large bowl of popcorn, having an intimate dinner together or even just watching our favorite tv shows together on Thursday nights. It doesn't matter what we do, we just love any day that we get to spend together from start to finish without interruptions from work or school.
Do you have a song?
No, not yet, although Keith is planning on playing a song for me at our wedding ceremony, and I have a feeling that might become "our song."
What is the most essential element of making it?
I think for me it is all about making the commitment to work through any problem that comes our way. Of course we know that every day isn't going to be easy and that we're going to face challenges, but both of us know that we're not willing to quit, and that our love means so much more than anything that stands in our way.
What are your hopes for the future?
To travel as much as possible together before we settle down and start a family.
Anything else the world needs to know about love?
Once you find it it's a pretty great thing.
As always, if you'd like to participate in the Real People in Love series, just shoot me an email!